Neighbors protest Mesa man's plan to open wedding venue - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Neighbors protest Mesa man's plan to open wedding venue

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MESA, Ariz. -

It's one of the most beautiful views in the valley -- the views of the Superstition Mountains, east of Mesa.

The community near Signal Butte and Brown is a favorite spot for horseback riding, bicycling and outdoor activities.

Folks who moved to this area for peace and solitude are now fighting for what they call a peaceful way of life as one man works to open his home to weddings and receptions.

The view from John Burns' backyards is spectacular. The majestic Superstition Mountains, jutting up toward a crystal clear, vivid blue sky.

"I'm just trying to finish a project that started in 2006," says Burns. "It was one of the worst eyesores out here in the east valley. It was ugly."

When he bought this place it was run down, a victim of the recession.

"We bought this building from the bank. It was half boarded up, piles of dirt everywhere. It kind of looked like an extension of the city dump."

Now, it looks like a perfect spot for couples to exchange wedding vows.

"This is going to be Superstition Manor. It's a wedding venue for weddings and receptions."

But not if these neighbors have their way. They are protesting Burns' request for a special use permit to run a wedding reception business from his home.

"We're here to protest this commercial facility they want to put in because the additional traffic is going to disrupt and maybe even prohibit good horse-riding and bike riding. The additional traffic is going to make the solitude of this area, the quietness disappear," says protester Donald Dahler.

Burns says if he gets the approval he needs at Wednesday's meeting, he will have to employ security, have dim, not commercial lighting and follow a long list of restrictions. But that's little consolation to some who live nearby.

"It's just not going to be safe at all for anybody hiking or horseback riding or bicycling. To me it's a total safety issue," says protester Judy Hood.

"We bought out here for a way of life, which is this right here. Being able to have our horses in our backyard and go out here and ride in the park," says protester Scott Schmier.

John Burns says the home was originally built to house receptions. He finished it and has been a good neighbor by cleaning up the property, but those protestors are hoping the county board of supervisors shoots down the project or their peace and quiet may be gone for good.

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